A Book On Quitting To Help You Persevere
It sounds counterintuitive, I agree.
How can quitting anything help you persevere?
Perseverance is to quitting, what winning is to losing; or so I thought.
Seth Godin isn’t sold on Vince Lombardi’s popular adage, “Quitters never win and winners never quit.” According to Godin, “Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.”
Sounds simple enough. But how can we determine when and what to quit?
To answer this question, you have to view your life, hobbies, or career trajectory in the right context, represented by three distinct curves: The Cliff, The Cul-de-Sac, and The Dip.
Godin states, “Cliffs are exciting and Cul-de-Sacs are boring, but both end in failure… The Dip is where success happens”.
I’m sure there are exceptions, but in evaluating my own journey, I was able to identify one of these curves from learning how to snowboard (cited in the book), launching a business, as well as writing.
You’ve always wanted to create, write, play an instrument, or start a podcast.
The idea, in and of itself, is exciting! You picture yourself improving, even mastering the craft.
You’re excited; new things are exciting.
You sign up for Medium, or guitar lessons, or buy a microphone, and so begins an amazing adventure. The excitement alone pushes you through the early stage, where effort may not reflect results just yet.
Not to worry though, the thrill is alive and well.
Most writers can easily crank out a handful of posts those first few month, but into months three, four, or a little later, they hit a dip, a wall, resistance of some kind. We have three options when this happens; flatten out along a mediocre path, quit, or go for glory and become a top writer, musician, podcaster, etc.
‘The Dip’ begins when both effort and results begin to decline.
Now’s the time to ask: Can I see myself, not only improving, but being great, acclaimed even, at the pinnacle of my craft or profession?
If you can’t see yourself ascending to such heights, if you’re going to quit, early in ‘The Dip’ would be best. Otherwise, you need to figure out how to get through, continue on an upward trajectory, and become an industry leader.
The Dip is, ‘a little book that teaches you when to quit (and when to stick).’
Published in 2007, it remains just as relevant today. When presented with countless opportunities, creative or career pursuits, understanding where to focus your efforts is crucial.
Success, in anything, is rarely, if ever immediate.
Some other nuggets of wisdom from this little book include:
“Quit the wrong stuff. Stick with the right stuff. Have the guts to do one or the other.”
“Extraordinary benefits accrue to the tiny minority of people who are able to push just a tiny bit longer than most.”
“The Dip creates scarcity; scarcity creates value.”